Former employees visit burned down furniture factory

A devastating fire at the old Broyhill plant in Lenoir is now under control. Firefighters say it appears the fire was started accidentally by a construction crew that was using a blow torch on the roof.

FOX 46 Charlotte was on scene Monday morning as fire crews put out hot spots and former employees of the plant stopped by.

“I think about a lot of people, a lot of people used to work in this plant,” said Junior Townsell, who made the drive from Wilkes County to see the damage for himself.

Townsell says the old Broyhill plant is a the place where hundreds made their livelihood years ago. 

Monday the plant looked a lot different compared to the last time employees clocked out nearly a decade ago. 

Dozens of former employees, like Junior Townsell, rushed to the old plant Monday after seeing and hearing about the massive fire that started Sunday evening.

The building is a pile of smoldering debris, but it brings back immediate memories for many.

“It’s kinda like it had just been yesterday. You start looking at the plant and think about where the personnel office used to be  and the chain link fence was right here and I parked right there for about 24 years,” said Townsell.

Townsell says he made the drive after hearing about the fire from his sister-in-law.

“I used to think I would like to come back sometime just to see if the people that had it would let me walk through it you know? Just to see the inside of the building, but that will probably never happen now,” said Townsell.

No one was hurt in the blaze, but it took about 60 firefighters to get things under control. The fire could be seen by first responders from miles away.

“I came from the Hudson area and you could see the plume of black smoke from several miles away,” said Lenoir Battalion Chief Todd Laws.

Firefighters tell FOX 46 Charlotte they could be on scene the rest of the week putting out hot spots.